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Harvesting and Storing Vegetables

Most foods are best eaten fresh but many of us will still be harvesting and storing vegetables. So, if you really can’t face chopping another tomato, stuffing another courgette or peeling another onion then here’s some help.

Harvesting

Whilst watering and feeding your plants keep eye on their development. Unless you are entering monster veg classes at your local show it’s best to be harvesting and storing vegetables whilst they are in their prime. This usually means whilst they are still young and tender.

Water the plants the evening before and pick the veg early in the morning. Alternatively, harvest your veg on a cool evening. The key thing being not to pick during the heat of the day and to get the veg into a cool environment, such as the house, as soon as possible.

Vegetables will start to lose their vitamin levels as soon as they are picked so harvesting and storing vegetables is best done on the same day, where possible.

Storing

Less than perfect veg really needs to be eaten fresh with only perfect, blemish free specimens being stored. Different methods of storage include:

Freezing

The following veg can all be blanched and frozen:
Asparagus   Beans   Broccoli   Carrots  Cauliflower  Courgettes   Peas  Peppers  Spinach  Sweetcorn

Drying

Some veg can simply be dried naturally and left in a cool dark place until needed. This includes:
Potatoes  Onions  Garlic  Shallots  Squash  Herbs
Other veg, for example tomatoes, will need to be thoroughly dried, in the sun, oven or a dehydrator and then stored in oil.

Preserving & Pickling

The term “preserve” covers jams, jellies, salsa, chutneys and pickles. Whole books have been devoted to the huge range of recipes available with ingredients including the following:
Peppers   Chillies  Tomatoes   Aubergines   Onions  Mushrooms   Leeks   Carrots  Beetroot   Artichokes Horseradish   Cucumbers/gherkins   Marrows   Courgettes   Cabbages   Cauliflower   Beans  Sweetcorn

Leaving in the Ground

Leave winter veg such as sprouts, cabbage and leeks in the ground until needed. The same applies to root vegetables such as carrots and parsnips but these can also be lifted and stored in boxes of sand.

Brewing

Wines and beers can be made from many vegetables. Beetroot and ginger is an old family favourite of mine. Other home-grown veg that can be fermented and supped includes:
Broad beans   Horseradish   Carrots  Chiilies  Courgettes    Mint   Beetroot   Pumpkins   Sweetcorn   Parsnips
Rhubarb        Rosemary     Bay

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Lis

About Lis

Our Suttons Blog comes from Lis Wallace, Head of Customer Service here at Suttons since 2002. Living on the edge of Dartmoor Lis has a large and “somewhat tricky” garden split across several levels but with the bonus of a stream tumbling through and a large, fertile veg patch. Across the blog Lis will share some of the knowledge she has gained over the years from her father, from working at Suttons and also from her own trial and error. Storm the Jack Russell is bound to chip in now and then. That’s what terriers do!

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